Monday, April 20, 2009

Senator Dean Florez answers questions about SB250

Senator Dean Florez was kind enough to answer the following questions I asked him regarding SB250, The Pet Responsibility Act, which is currently working its way through the California legislature. I did this as an article for the Bakersfield Voice, but thought I should also share here.

Q: Senator Florez, how will SB250, The Pet Responsibility Act, aid in reducing the number of pets currently being euthanized in shelters?

As more pets are spayed and neutered, the costs and burden of sheltering animals will go down because the unwanted pet population will ultimately decline. For instance, the County of Santa Cruz experienced a 50% decrease in its overall stray animal intake following the passage of their spay/neuter ordinance.

Q: Why do you believe SB250 is necessary in California ?

California taxpayers are bearing the burden of unaltered animals. In a ten year period nearly $2.75 billion was spent to shelter animals - and over half of those animals are tragically put to death because they cannot find homes.

According to figures reported to us (by local animal shelters) we have already euthanized over 130,000 unwanted pets at a cost of approximately $66 million dollars this year alone. It’s unconscionable that we are spending this kind of money when we need to build more schools, roads, and help people find work.

Q: How does SB250 differ from AB1634, The California Health Pets Act, which sought mandatory spay/neuter in California ?

Our approach under SB250 is far different than last year’s bill in two key ways:

1) We are not proposing mandatory spay/neuter – rather, the bill affords responsible owners a choice between spaying/neutering their dog or purchasing an unaltered license (from their local jurisdiction) if they intend to keep their dog intact; and

2) our bill does not penalize owners for having an unaltered dog in and of itself and will not lead to additional door-to-door enforcement – because owners cannot be cited unless they are also in violation of some other local ordinance.

Q: How do you respond to people who believe the pet overpopulation problem is a matter of personal responsibility and not a legislative issue?

Unfortunately, the status quo has lead to a hefty price tag – approximately $250 million per year to house and euthanize unwanted pets – therefore, we are taking a modest approach to tackle this problem. I agree that most people are responsible, however, a majority of responsible pet owners are picking up the tab for a minority of irresponsible owners and backyard breeders who permit their unwanted dogs to roam the streets and fill up our shelters.

Q: Any additional thoughts for people who may still be on the fence about whether or not to support SB250?

Folks suggest that this bill penalizes responsible owners, yet if people are truly responsible - by either spaying/neutering their dog or purchasing an unaltered license –they will have nothing to worry about whatsoever.

In sum, this bill is a step in the right direction, if we can make a minor dent in the overall unwanted pet population and reduce the amount of money we are spending each year to house and euthanize those animals then SB250 will be a success.

I'd like to thank Senator Florez for his time and responses. For more information, or to read the bill in its entirety go to Yes on SB250.

No comments:


Blog Design By Sour Apple Studio © All Rights Reserved.